A Scarlet Tracery:
"Difficult not to think that one of the most telling features of pop now is the play-counter on iTunes & Last FM. One of the reasons I buy mostly vinyl now... is the experience of listening w/out a continual awareness of time, crawling or dashing on, & the number of times you listen to a song... The only way of telling how often a vinyl record has been played is how worn-down the grooves are... how bad the sound’s become... The only other court of measurement was the charts, w/ wh/ one’s experience of listening to a record would concur or diverge.... Reading [Guralnick's Presley biog] the strangeness of the screaming crowds that... greeted the band everywhere they played – so loud as to drown out any attempt at a gig... isn’t simply the seemingly impossible libidinal expenditure (now that pop has become a lifestyle accessory)... [but] the possibility of recognising oneself in the massed objectivity of the crowd, the flashed face of the World Spirit. The slowly ascending number of Last FM plays testifies to the inviolability of one’s island of taste, the justification for solipsism posing as music writing"
Yes yes and one other thing about the Analogue System and the sale of music in the form of physical objects is that it provided a metric for whether things mattered and also whether you and other people cared about them enough to actually pay money for them... (which could also include being so curious/intrigued/buzzed/hyped that you'd buy them unheard, a sort of gamble, a bet on a future state of caring-so-much-you-are-prepared-to-pay).
it seems much harder for things aquired in pure digital form (either paid for or particularly in the case of downloaded for nowt) to accrue personal value.... the dematerialised nature of it seems to tending unavoidably to immateriality (in its second dictionary sense: "of no substantial consequence", not mattering).
I suppose you can tell something by the number of repeat plays you give an MP2 or podcast or whatever, but that can might relate to contingent laziness or something being playable in the sense of not interfering with other activities, slipping comfortably into the background, not imposing itself... there are records that have made much deeper impression on me that i've only played a few times compared with things that get a lot more play because they're more compatible with everyday life functioning, are more palatable to other family members...
But it's the Analogue Time aspect of the Analogue System that seems most precious and most jeopardised... the time measurement function on your iPod or on YouTube, the irresistible temptation to cut off before it's fully unfolded, or skip to something else... pushing us by some diabolic logic towards the Thomas Jerome Newton / 12 TV screens brink of trying to listen to two pieces of music at once ... maximise your time, because time is quantitative, a scarce resource
Chronos, kairo and aeon (via):